Helicobacter pylori is a gram-negative microaerophilic bacterium usually found in the stomach. It is helical in shape and is thought to have the ability to penetrate the mucoid lining of the stomach which usually protects you from the acid your body uses to digest food and thereby establishes an infection.
Infection with H. pylori is common and two-thirds of the world’s population has it in their bodies.
Most people with H. pylori infection often never have any signs or symptoms. It’s not clear why this is. Some people do show signs and some of them include:
* An ache or burning sensation in your abdomen or chest
* Abdominal pain that’s worse when your stomach is empty
* Loss of appetite
* Frequent burping
* Unintentional weight loss
Make an appointment with your doctor if the signs are persistent. Seek immediate medical help if you experience:
* Bloody stool (dark red, or black)
* Difficulty in breathing
* Vomit that has blood or looks like coffee grounds
* Severe, sharp stomach pain
Causes of H. Pylori infection
H. pylori bacteria can be passed from person to person through direct contact with:
-through contact with fecal matter.
-nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (eg ibuprofen, felvin)
H. Pylori can cause ulcer by damaging the protective lining of the stomach and small intestine thereby allowing stomach acid to create an open sore (ulcer).
It’s can also cause stomach irritation which can result in an inflammation (gastritis). It is also a strong risk factor for certain types of stomach cancer.
If you develop any of the aforementioned signs and symptoms, It is best to get tested.
If you have H. pylori, your doctor may ask that you run some tests like:
-urea breath test
-Computed tomography (CT) scan
To mention a few.
On carrying out these tests, your doctor will know what to prescribe you for the treatment.
The options include:
* Antibiotics that can kill the bacteria in your body. For example amoxicillin, clarithromycin, metronidazole , tetracycline , or tinidazole. You’ll most likely take at least two from this group.
* Drugs that reduce the amount of acid in your stomach by blocking the tiny pumps that produce it. They include dexlansoprazole esomeprazole, lansoprazole, omeprazole, pantoprazole or rabeprazole.
* Oral suspensions like polygel, gaviscon, gestid, or gascol.
* Medicines that block the chemical histamine, which prompts your stomach to make more acid. These are cimetidine, famotidine , nizatidine, or ranitidine.
How to prevent H. Pylori infection
Wash your hands regularly.
Wash your hands after you use the bathroom Wash your hands before you prepare or eat food.
Avoid food or water that’s not clean.
Don’t eat anything that isn’t cooked thoroughly.
Reduce your intake of spicy foods
Reduce intake alcohol
Avoid smoking in its entirety.